Interview with Arvydas Anušauskas, Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania

01 July 2021

Following the NATO Summit 2021 in Brussels, the NATO PA caught up with ministers who were closely involved in the meeting to share their insights on the Summit's outcomes. As former members of the NATO PA, they also address how parliamentarians and the NATO PA can best support implementation of NATO's ambitious agenda going forward.

Three questions with Arvydas Anušauskas, Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania and NATO PA alumnus:

Arvydas ANUSAUSKAS was an active member of the NATO PA serving from 2009 to 2013 and as deputy head of the Lithuanian Delegation to the NATO PA from 2019 to 2020.

1- Expectations were high for this Summit, particularly in light of the ongoing major shifts in the international security environment. How do you rate the overall outcome? 

NATO's Summit in Brussels was a great success story. The most important outcome is the reaffirmation of transatlantic unity and the need to strengthen collective defence. We welcome the North American and European Allies’ full commitment to Article 5. NATO remains a unique and essential collective defence organisation particularly in light of ongoing Russian aggressive actions and posture. We welcome the NATO leaders’ communique which provides very a realistic assessment of recent events in Russia and Belarus.

2- What were Lithuania’s key priorities, and how do you assess the decisions made on these? 

Lithuania’s priorities are fully reflected in NATO Summit decisions:
Firstly, Lithuania supports fair assessment of regional security threats in particular stemming from Russia. In addition, NATO should fully assess the implications of Russian and Belarusian military integration. The NATO Summit stated that Russia’s aggressive actions continue to pose a threat to Euro-Atlantic security.
Secondly, Lithuania supports a strong transatlantic bond, as the core element of collective defence. The NATO Summit reaffirmed transatlantic unity, cohesion, and solidarity. Allies expressed full commitment to Article 5. 

Thirdly, Lithuania views NATO as a unique and essential collective defence organisation. NATO placed “a renewed emphasis on collective defence” and stated the need for quick and full implementation of decisions relevant to deterrence and defence.  

Fourth, we fully subscribe to the notion of fair burden sharing among the Allies. Lithuania will keep to its commitment to allocate more than 2 percent for defence. 

3- Based on your experience, including as a former member of the NATO PA, how can parliamentarians and the NATO PA best support implementation of the ambitious agenda agreed at the Summit? 

Leaders at the Summit recommitted to the Defence Investment Pledge. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly can significantly contribute to the implementation of the Summit decisions in terms of defence budget allocations by raising understanding among the public on the importance of defence.

NATO PA parliamentarians play an important role in strengthening the transatlantic bond and unity, the commitment to democratic values and security indivisibility. Parliamentarians’ role in national legislation is crucial for national governments, in particular with regards to strengthening national defence and civil resilience.

NATO PA parliamentarians meaningfully support NATO by contributing to political discussions, carrying out joint statements and issuing the reports on the most significant transatlantic security issues, for instance condemning Russian military build-up in and around Ukraine. The NATO PA should continue significantly contributing to the NATO defence agenda and providing support for NATO’s defence and deterrence adaptation.
 

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